Edward Lee’s Korean Doughnuts (Hotteok)

Chef and restaurateur Edward Lee shares this addictive recipe from his new book, “Buttermilk Graffiti,” and we’re hooked—on the doughnuts and his writing. Don’t tell mom, but we encourage you to play with your food by serving this with a variety of toppings, such as caramel, vanilla ice cream, sesame seeds, honey, or green tea powder.

Korean Doughnuts (Hotteok)
Makes 12 doughnuts


For the doughnuts:
2 cups warm water (112 degrees)
7 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
4 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more if needed
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for kneading
1 1/4 cups rice flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the filling:
1 cup chopped cashews
4 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons dark brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


1. Make the doughnuts: In a medium bowl, stir together water, 4 tablespoons sugar, yeast, salt and 2 tablespoons oil. Let the yeast activate for 10 minutes in a warm place.

2. In a large bowl, sift all-purpose flour, rice flour, and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Using a rubber spatula or by hand, mix in the yeast mixture until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. On a work surface dusted with flour, place the dough. Dust hands with enough flour to keep the wet dough from sticking. Divide the dough into 12 even rounds. Let the dough sit at room temperature while you make the filling.

4. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the cashews, sesame seeds, pepper, cinnamon and brown sugar. Mix well. Add the butter and work it gently into the mixture.

5. Finish the doughnuts: Using your hand, gently flatten each ball of dough. Place about 2 tablespoons filling into the center of each dough round. Fold the corners inward to close the doughnut and seal the seams by gently pressing with your fingers. Flour your hands as needed so the dough doesn’t stick to you. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes. 

6. In a nonstick pan over medium heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Place one doughnut into the pan and pan fry for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip and continue to cook another 2 minutes, gently flattening the doughnut with the spatula. Flip once more and cook until the sides are cooked and the top is nicely browned, about 1 minute more. Remove from pan to a paper-towel-lined platter. Repeat with remaining doughnuts, adding more oil, if needed.

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